More than half of 18th-century Williamsburg residents were African American. Almost all were enslaved. Join us during Black History Month as we explore the stories of those who lived, loved, and strove to create a better future for themselves and the next generation.
Visit our CALENDAR for a full list of Black History Month programs and events.
Witness a compelling moment in the life of an 18th century person. Then join the discussion as the actor interpreter shares how they brought the character to life.
Despite living in a world where most had little time to themselves and for family, the enslaved still found ways to develop a rich culture and strong relationships. Meet Elizabeth, a free black woman, and her enslaved friends, Agnes and Lydia, as they prepare for a gathering. Discover how these women manage love, work, beauty, friendship . . . and, of course, hair!
The Royal Governor of Virginia wielded great influence over the colony, and to ensure success in the New World they often called upon free and enslaved African-Americans for help - both at the Palace and on missions throughout the colony of Virginia. Hear these important stories and learn about the contributions of free and enslaved African-Americans during your visit to the Palace.Learn More
Meet John Rollison, a free man of color who was never enslaved, but owned slaves. Learn his American story as a Virginia patriot who knew Washington, Jefferson and Henry and discover how he grew from shoemaker to wealthy Williamsburg merchant.Learn More
As you are guided through the opulent home of Peyton and Elizabeth Randolph, a heart-wrenching narrative unfolds exploring the complicated relationships between gentry women and their enslaved maidservants.Learn More
Caesar Hope was a celebrated figure in the city who, as their barber, gained a unique perspective on the most notable gentlemen of the time. Stop in to his shop and meet this iconic figure as he shares his incredible life's story with you.Learn More
This exhibit showcases eleven colorful and stunning quilts, half of which have never before been seen by the public, spanning more than a century after 1875.
Meet three black women who didn't accept society's limits: Lydia rose from enslavement to become an entrepreneur. Katie Marie was educated, and overcame a lack of resources to teach others. Clara Byrd Baker fought for equal rights in the 20th century. The work of these Williamsburg women spanned three centuries, opening doors and providing new opportunities for the next generations.